Friday, November 28, 2003

Friday morning and I've taken a vacation day- 'cause I'm so swamped with non work related things I have to take time to catch up. Mar and I both believe that we don't really have time to have jobs.
I did- with a strong cup of coffee- wade through the advertising inserts in the newspaper this morning to see what was going on this Thanksgiving holiday. Got to give credit to Bush (did I earlier urge people not to underestimate him?) for his dramatic 'secret flight' to visit the troops in Baghdad. That was a great PR move- President cares enough for troops to miss Thanksgiving at home with family. Bold gestures- even landing with a fighter pilot on an aircraft carrier- are worth a lot to the multitudes. Think about what the Roman emperors did to win the hearts of the masses. Gotta hand it to him.
Meanwhile, back in the world of reality, Nicholas Kristoff's column this morning asks hard questions about Afghanistan and its message to us regarding Iraq. In the former country since our 'liberation' opium production has skyrocketed to unheralded levels and the money is feeding the warlords. At the same time, the rates of education have dropped substantially- particularly for girls- because there is little security in the country except in Kabul. His comments deserve thought. We have spent many dollars and years now in the Afghan puzzle- where are we going? And why is Iraq different?
Okay there was a bright spot in the paper this morning. I read about Zell Kravinsky who's given away millions of dollars to needy people and has, additionally, given one of his kidneys to help a woman he didn't even know. The article notes that he's being attacked for being a crackpot or for having ulterior motives. I suspect that's the kind of press that other guy, Jesus, would have gotten if he'd been around today. Seems to me that a person who is truly that selfless (he's also provided for his wife and children) really does challenge the rest of us. I know it challenges me. I think of myself as a generous person and yet I don't give of myself or my wealth anywhere near as much as I could. I haven't missed any meals so other people could eat. I applaud Kravinsky. From the article it sounds as if he is motivated by his own moral compass: he's not a proselytizer. He thinks deeply about his expectations of himself and acts to meet those expectations. I will be interested to see what happens...and I'll try a little harder to actually give.

That said, the day is passing. And time is the among most precious things we all have and commonly disrespect. If there are readers out there, the best to you on this day. Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas cycle have always seemed more like the "new year" to me than New Years. I am reflective, and hopeful, and grateful.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Gosh, time just sizzles onward. It's nearly Thanksgiving. I'm feeling thankful alright. For a lot of things in my life. But I was trying to remember to log in and note an event that was a bright spot recently. A child- can't remember her age but it was very young- had wandered away from her own house while her mother was preoccupied briefly and had fallen into a neighbor's pool. And 'drowned'. When discovered emergency procedures were taken and she was driven to the hospital. To no avail. Quite sometime later a detective team was to examine the child to review the accidental death. As detective number one was checking the child, her chest heaved. At first he thought it was a post mortem auto response of the body. But in fact it became clear very quickly that the child was reviving. And is now in the hospital recovering. What a great story- painful and wonderful both. But the thing that brings me to a sense of wonder is that this moment in human existence seems inexplicable to all the experts. The girl was 'dead' and dead too long to come back. Still, she did. A miracle of sorts- and an affirmation that we know way too little to be cynical about our world or to believe that we should not imagine broader frontiers and more wondrous possibilities. I felt good reading this story.

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